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      Dempsey in Israel to Talk About Syria and Iran

      Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff arrives in Israel to discuss issues such as Syria and a possible Israeli strike in Iran.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 8/5/2013, 6:13 AM

      Dempsey, Peres and Gantz
      Dempsey, Peres and Gantz
      Flash 90

      The U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, arrived in Israel on Sunday for a work visit, the Israel Defense website reported.

      General Dempsey arrived as a guest of IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, the report said, adding that the visit will focus on improving the military cooperation between the U.S. and Israel with regards to regional developments, such as the ongoing conflict in Syria.

      Reports published in the U.S. and around the world have attributed attacks within Syria to Israel.

      On Saturday it was reported that President Barack Obama was behind recent leaks by U.S. intelligence on Israeli air strikes in Syria.

      Diplomats told the World Tribune that the Obama administration has enabled the U.S. intelligence community to disclose details of Israeli military operations against the armed forces under Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. These leaks include reporting Israeli air and naval strikes on advanced Iranian and Russian weapons that arrived in 2013.

      Israel Defense reported that another issue to be dealt with during Dempsey's visit is the Iranian nuclear program and concerns in Washington over the possibility that Israel might launch a surprise attack against Iran.

      According to the website, Washington’s concerns have been fueled by recent statements made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

      Speaking about the issue of Iranian nuclear weapons program in an interview to CBS two weeks ago, Netanyahu said that "Israel will have to consider how to stop Iran. The leaders in Tehran are mistaken if they think that we will allow them to reach a nuclear bomb. I am determined to do whatever is necessary to protect my country against a regime that repeatedly threatens its very destruction."

      Speaking Sunday at a government meeting about the swearing in of new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Netanyahu said that "Iran's president might have been replaced, but the regime has remained as it was."

      "One of Iran's intentions is to develop nuclear capability and weapons with the purpose of destroying Israel. This is a risk for both Israel and the whole world, and we are all committed to preventing this from happening," he stated.

      Dempsey last visited Israel in October of 2012, meeting with then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Gantz and with President Shimon Peres.

      A previous visit by Dempsey was in January, during which he also met Barak, Gantz and Peres. At that time Dempsey stressed the “mutual commitment” between Israel and the U.S.

      Last year Dempsey admitted that Israel and the United States view the Iranian nuclear threat differently.

      “Israel sees the Iranian threat more seriously than the U.S. sees it, because a nuclear Iran poses a threat to Israel's very existence,” Dempsey said, adding that he and Gantz regularly confer on the issue.

      “We speak at least once every two weeks, we compare intelligence reports, we discuss the security implications of the events in the region,” said Dempsey, adding, “At the same time, we admit that our clocks ticking at different paces. We have to understand the Israelis; they live with a constant suspicion with which we do not have to deal.”